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A new California garden book from three top horticulturalists

March 26, 2011 |  9:00 am

Giving water-guzzling yards a makeover is the focus of "Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-Conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs" by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien, three of California's star horticulturalists.

At our sibling blog L.A. at Home, Emily Green has a writeup of "Reimagining the California Lawn":

Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien have kept their focus stubbornly local. They've identified the best plants from our native flora and countries with similar climates. Through their botanic gardens and nursery, they helped to breed these plants into garden cultivars.

This new book, published by Cachuma Press, is a primer on how to use those plants instead of opting for turf.

Like any book on the subject of lawn, “Reimagining” opens by describing the environmental cost of conventional grass landscapes — in grooming lawn, fertilizing it and finally, most disastrous for California, watering it. Yet rather than say we shouldn't have lawn, the book instead offers more responsible ways to keep it, along with examples of lower-impact green spaces involving sedges or native grasses that they call “greenswards.” Also included are models for meadows, succulent gardens, multicolored and textured groundcover treatments called “tapestry gardens,” and kitchen gardens. 

Green concludes, "No other author or imprint can rival Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien's careful selection of species, plant profiles, clear pictures and reliable notes about where each type of plant will thrive and what it will need." The authors will be appearing all over California for book signings in April, at nurseries, garden shows and more.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Cachuma Press